Beta Tester

Darren Ingram (2009)

Beta Tester is a strange game that seems like all the work was put in up front, with the rest of the game falling part. The first puzzle was entertaining, sort of like opening a door with a mousetrap puzzle, but it shouldíve stopped there. The rest of it only brought the score down lower.

You start off trying to test out a simulator so workers at CogCo Industries donít even have to go home from work, but whatís on the other side of the electrodes is all but relaxing. The game has a clear objective in the beginning, ringing a doorbell, but the puzzle used to activate it doesnít describe the objects well enough. It was very hard to envision. Also, as things changed around in the room none of the roomís descriptions change with it, leading to objects getting buried. Where it truly fails is it doesnít feel like Iím changing my surroundings at all, and that is the power of IF.

The game is well written. I can't knock the prose, but I can knock the tone. And that's what bothered me here, the strange way it would explain away objects in a room. Try looking at the clasp.

This clasp, as gold and lovely as it is, is currently without purpose. A clasp without something to clasp on to is a lonely thing indeed.

Really? The clasp is lonely? It just feels off and strange to me, and it comes up all over the place in the beginning of the game, putting unnecessary emotion into objects.

After getting through the first puzzle a lot of bugs started to show. This is where you run into a couple of NPCs, but these characters are barely implemented, understanding little I pose to them. Also, one character was broken and I couldnít talk to her at all. Other things started to show too, like missing scenery to the point of not being able to operate one of the puzzles. Itís almost like the author ran out of time to complete the game and just shipped it off to the competition.

Another problem was with the object "describe" not being used. This is an option that will allow the programmer to rewrite the way an object is seen in the room. It gives the game a polished feeling. Also, if you have some object listed in the room, donít explain it away in the room description. Seeing it up there twice is just bad practice.

I scored this game a 4. With the second part only being half finished, it really did feel like I was beta testing the thing because it sure wasn't done. There were plenty of bugs that I ran into, and why you would put in three NPCs that do nothing is beyond me. This might be a good game to spark someone elseís imagination, a crazy door puzzle like that might be neat in a game, but besides that, thereís not much reason to play this one.